Review: You Will Know Me
If you had Olympic fever like I did, chances are you spent some time watching sports drama unfold in Rio this summer. You might have followed the women’s gymnastics competition, which was dominated by Team USA this year. All Olympic athletes are amazing, but I am hard-pressed to find athletes with a better combination of strength and agility than gymnasts!
Gymnastics provides the backdrop for You Will Know Me, the latest thriller by Megan Abbott. The story is centered on the Knox family, and specifically their gymnastic prodigy Devon, who is talented enough to be pursuing an Olympic dream. She is singularly focused on improving, especially after a missed landing on a vault prevents her from climbing closer to her goal. Then, a big distraction hits the gym; someone close to the gymnasts dies under mysterious circumstances, which throws everyone into mourning and chaos. When the investigation uncovers that a crime was committed, rumors begin, as does the finger-pointing and fighting within their tight-knit community.
At the center of all of this is Devon, who is simultaneously dealing with all of this and trying to stay focused on her athletic life when her personal life is spiraling out of control. Her family has put all of their time, energy, and resources into her gymnastics career, and now everything is in jeopardy.
While this title is written for an adult audience, and does feature some mature scenes and themes, there is obvious teen appeal here. There is a coming-of-age element with Devon that is explored, and many teens will identify with the pressure that is put on her, both by outside forces, and herself. Abbott’s portrayal of a family that seems functional on the outside, but harbors secrets and dysfunction will resonate as well.
Abbott masterfully doles out crumbs of mystery and suspense and allows the story to naturally unspool itself. This one is hard to put down, and to me sits side-by-side with such recent, wildly popular titles like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.